Raymond S. Kellis boys earn more valuable power points
January 27, 2011 by Don Ketchum, AZPreps365
By Don Ketchum
Power points are a valuable commodity at any time, but at this point in the basketball season, they have the luster of gold.
Teams near the top of the list want to stay there, at least in the top four, for the potential to earn two home games in the state tournament. Teams closer to the opposite end need the points to assure themselves a spot, period.
And so it went for the boys from Glendale Raymond S. Kellis and host Peoria Liberty on Thursday night (Jan. 27).
Kellis, No. 1 in Class 4A Division I power points gained more of a grip with a 63-54 victory. Liberty, which entered the week 13th in Class 4A Division II power points, appeared it wasn’t too damaged by the loss, sitting at No. 10.
“You definitely want to have (win) every game at this point in the season,’’ said Raymond S. Kellis coach Curtis Green, whose team raised its record to 17-3. Liberty slipped to 13-9.
Liberty gave Raymond S. Kellis all it could handle through three quarters, with a 39-39 tie on the board entering the fourth.
Liberty was infused with energy from junior forward Nathan Bannister. Perhaps known better as a top-flight baseball pitcher who could be selected high in the Major League Baseball amateur draft next year, he showed his athleticism by scoring 11 first-half points and doing a solid job defensively on Raymond S. Kellis big man Kenny Martin.
For whatever reason, Bannister did not appear to be as involved in the second half. He scored just two points after intermission, but Branden Croteau helped pick up some of the slack by scoring eight of his 10 points.
Meanwhile, Raymond S. Kellis guard Bikonzi Moise came alive. He did not score in the first half, but was wide awake in the second, scoring 17 points, including a pair of three-pointers and nine free throws.
Liberty was within 51-50 with about three minutes left in the game. Martin then scored a bucket (he finished with 13 points) and Raymond S. Kellis pulled away after that.
“We had to keep our composure because they (Liberty) have a good team,’’ Green said. “We were really able to be more patient in the second half. We executed. And defensively, we got some big stops.’’